The big news in our garden this week is our new rain barrel. Months ago, I purchased a used barrel from the Habitat store. It was bright blue and made of food grade plastic which made it safe for use in the garden. We just needed to install the spigot and an overflow valve then attach it to the gutter pipe. Having a bright blue barrel in the garden isn’t so bad if the garden is in the back yard but our garden is in the front yard and bright blue was not an option for me. It was just a little too blue for my liking and without shrubs to hide it, I painted it white. It now blends in pretty well. The best part about this barrel was the screw on top. We wouldn’t need to make a screen cover to keep mosquitoes out. The hose is attached to the lid and the gutter so that the mosquitoes shouldn’t be able to get in and breed.
Darry sealed the hose in place with outdoor grade silicon caulk and it held up during the 1 1/2 inches of rain we had last week.
Here is the barrel up on blocks in the corner of our front yard. It is so exciting to have water available; water that is not only chlorine free but free of charge!
When I ordered 24 straw bales, I thought it would fill most of the beds. How wrong I was! Until I can get another load of bales, I am hoping to get some of the leaf filled beds moving along and on this one, I added a bunch of coffee grinds to give it a boost.
The process of straw bale gardening starts off with curing the bales by fertilizing them with a nitrogen supplement. The feeding is alternated with watering for 10 days. Once this part of the process is completed, a rest period of a week is given to the bales before they are planted with seedlings or a shallow soil mixture can be spread over the bales to plant seeds. These bales hold a lot of water which means the plants will have a better chance of surviving dry spells.
Bales actually have a top and a bottom in the world of straw bale gardening. The cut side is considered the top while the folded side is placed on the bottom. The cut straw stalks are hollow and when placed right side up, they can fill with water. The other advantage of placing them with the cut side up, it is easier to insert the plants into the bale on this side. For more information on this method of gardening, visit the website.
In the meantime, visit here to see the progress of the bales in our garden as well as the arrival of our bees and hens.